We often romanticise horrible things in order to get over them. They become subjects of warped nostalgia when the conscience tells you to stop but your memory encourages you to hold on. They become rips on the fabric of our collective memory. Photographer Martin Parr took it upon himself to become a chronicler of the British leisurely life. He became an explorer of the society as he used his camera to get up, close and personal with the characters found in his documentative photographs. The age of Thatcherism marked the height of his career as he produced highly poignant studies of the division between the classes during the time when Britain supposedly became truly "Great". In 2016, these class studies have become a subject of nostalgia.

With a close connection to the rich Yorkshire culture, Parr's life work is now celebrated at Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. Opened to public on the 4th of February, The Rhubarb Triangle & Other Stories is the largest retrospective of Parr's work presented in the UK since 2002. Fourteen years might have passed but his work remains as an object of intrigue and fascination. Whilst observing the versatile audience arrived at the opening varying from young children to early teens, from the hip Leeds kids to Parr's own generation, one thing becomes clear: Parr's work is timeless. Sipping the rhubarb beers produced exclusively for the retrospective, the gallery space became a cultural hub buzzing on the atmosphere and the nostalgic rush Parr's handiwork was providing to his fans. Yorkshire chants were absent but the Northern spirit was richly present, particularly when Parr himself entered the exhibition space.

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The themes present at the exhibition revolve around nostalgia, the documentation of the British life, the ever-diminishing distinction between work and leisure and the triangle of modern life, globalization and consumerism. The walls are filled with photographs oozing of humorous satire and sharp critique - particularly seen in Parr's ongoing Autoportrait series. They are the culmination the retrospective as they create a more individual bond with the themes of the exhibition itself. In these series we see the aging Martin Parr captured by several different photographers in different settings - doing karate with Vladimir Putin, posing with The Christ and casually hanging out with Arnold Schwarzenegger. At first they might encourage one to share a giggle with the fellow exhibition visitors but what is it that we are we actually laughing at? While studying the satirical surface of this pictorial journey of an aging photographer, the story transforms into a profound study of the dramatic shift from film to digital. What does this shift signify? Is photography dead and do we simply inhabit a world of worthless digital images? What do we capture in our photographs and what do we leave out?

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Another highlight of the retrospective is without a doubt Parr's iconic 1983-1985 series titled Last Resort. Taken at the height of Thatcherism, Parr's photographs received a mixed response with some critics seeing them as a new movement in the British documentary photography and some seeing them as series of class voyeurism depicting the British working classes at their most exposed. Like all of Parr's work, these series feature an aura of paradoxicality. The gritty landscapes of the Northern seaside are juxtaposed with the families enjoying the leisurely life at the concrete jungle by the beach. Presented next to Parr's study of the British middle class in his series titled The Cost of Living (1986-89), the grim seaside scenes find their opposite from the depiction of tea parties and functions thrown by the conservative new middle class that was flourishing under the Thatcher regime.

Eponymous with the name of the exhibition, Parr's latest series follow the life of "The Rhubarb Triangle", a small countryside area located in West Yorkshire. Taken during a period of 12 months, the photo series follow every aspect of the rhubarb business. Commissioned by Hepworth, these series create a fascinating pictorial potpourri of the agricultural life of Yorkshire. The composition of these photographs is almost theatrical, depicting the rhubarb farmers in a heroic way.

Regardless of the versatile nature of the over 300 photographs exhibited, Parr's life work presented on the walls of Hepworth is a balanced mixture of depictions of the British society and the globalised world. The gallery has put together an exhibition that is embedded with a deep sense of exploration. Parr referred to himself as a tourist of the world and in this retrospective, this adventurous spirit becomes alive in his studies between analogue and digital and the past and the present. The Rhubarb Triangle and Other Stories is a collection of photographs that prove Yorkshire's status as one of The UK's most valuable cultural capitals. All I have to say is - London, Schmondon. I'd rather Parr-ty with Marty at Hepworth.

"The Rhubarb Triangle and Other Stories" is free and open till 12th of June, 2016. More information on Hepworth can be found here.